Was discussing Sasuke with a friend of mine who's a more casual Naruto fan than I am (not that this is hard). Wound up doing some character analysis. I have enough Sasuke-fan friends on my flist that I might as well post it here.
annwyd: Hmm. I think that...at the moment, Sasuke is too damaged to really love anyone, but Naruto is the closest he comes (and after him, Sakura).
kisanthe: Not Kakashi? I might've thought Sakura, Kakashi, maybe still Itachi in a really twisted way... Naruto probably before Itachi. ;) But not first; that's interesting.
annwyd: Well, Itachi is, as things stand, still Sasuke's most important person. Really, it seems like the whole reason he's doing all this? Is essentially because Itachi told him to. (Itachi said, "Hate me, and grow strong." If he hadn't, I suspect tiny Sasuke would have just broken down and stopped having anything to live for, rather than thought of revenge. He does not strike me as an inherently vengeful person, but rather someone who Itachi is molding into a vengeful person. But that's a reeeeally complex subject. ;) But Naruto is the person he reacts to the most intensely. He did count Naruto as the closest thing he had to a best friend, after all. He trusts Kakashi, but he also attempts to push him away, because he's afraid of having another parental figure--his last parental figures got messily slaughtered, after all. ;) Sakura he simply doesn't understand, because that kind of gentle love is something strange and alien to him in his current mindset. (Which is why the "thank you" was so touching--he's so broken that the best he can do in return to all her love is simply thank her.) But the rivalry he has with Naruto, he can almost understand, and thus he's most able to relate to Naruto. But even him, he can't relate to very well. Sasuke? Broken as hell.
annwyd: Probably the most important thing to remember about Sasuke is that Itachi wasn't just his beloved older brother, he was also his role model. And when he turned around and destroyed everything Sasuke held dear, Sasuke's world came falling down, and he had nothing to replace it with save the pieces Itachi chose to leave him ("if you wish to kill me, hate me, detest me, and survive in an unsightly way. Run. Run and cling to life").
annwyd: The ultimate problem is that in the world of Naruto, true strength comes from love and the support of your friends. Thanks to Itachi's influence, Sasuke has been warped into believing that true strength comes from hatred. And it isn't just that he believes this; it's that it forms the core of his fractured, damaged new worldview, because that's what his brother told him. His eventual redemption will come when he learns to understand that love and companionship makes him strong, not weak.
annwyd: Man, looks like I can still talk at length about the damn kid. ;)